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Labour and Greens “stealthy” on whaling

Written By: - Date published: 12:05 pm, March 8th, 2010 - 43 comments
Categories: Conservation, Environment - Tags: , ,

You’ve really got to hand it to the Greens and Labour. They have completely defied expectations on the whaling issue.

See the simple option that most political parties would go for would be to be seen to stand by their principles – loud and proud.

They would get the leader out to say: “New Zealand has a proud history of opposing whaling and we will not abandon that because other countries refuse to abide by the rules. Whales are not only vulnerable species with a right to existence, they are a valuable source of tourism to New Zealand and other countries. Shame on John Key for promising to end whaling only to turn around and endorse the reintroduction of commercial whaling. He has no mandate to reverse New Zealand’s position on whaling. [Labour/The Greens] will stand beside New Zealanders in their steadfast oppostion to all whaling”

Doing that would stop the government having a clear run on its spin and draw the Prime Minister into the issue. Whaling is a national identity issue, like the nuclear ban, and Key is on the wrong side.

But the Greens and Labour are too clever for that. Instead, they’ve cunningly said next to nothing. Chris Carter just got around to putting out a meek press release two days after the fact. Where’s the leadership?

Right now the two sides of the issue in the NZ media are Murray McCully, a government minister, on the pro-whaling side and Sea Shepherd and the Australian Greens on the anti-whaling side.

Clever huh? That really gives a sense of strong NZ-based opposition to the abandonment of our anti-whaling stance.

Now, don’t go thinking that the Greens and Labour were caught by surprise on the issue. They’ve had since at least Saturday morning to get their act together, so they are purposely choosing not to go hard at the government on an issue that should be a free hit.

It’s a strategy so clever, so Machiavellian, that I can’t even begin to understand how it works. I just have to take my hat off to them. Well played, Greens and Labour, well played.

43 comments on “Labour and Greens “stealthy” on whaling”

  1. …cunning alright, so cunning you could pin a tail on it and call it a fox…huh ?

    • Mr Magoo 1.1

      I believe that was weasel. Not fox.

      How DARE you misquote the python?! 🙂

      • QoT 1.1.1

        That’s it, Mr Magoo, onto the Naughty Spot for attributing to Python what is clearly Blackadder.

        • Mr Magoo 1.1.1.1

          arrrghhhghg!

          I deserve that. How could I?!?

          Rowan and John are hardly lookalikes….

  2. IrishBill 2

    Labour I could understand being a bit tentative because they’re still nervous about coming out strong on complex issues (because they’re still bit shit with their PR) but where the hell are the Greens?

  3. Chris Carter – Labour’s official whaling spokesperson – has spoken up. We still seem to be waiting on the Greens.

    • Bill 3.1

      From that presser….

      “Yet in spite of Mr Key’s refusal to support Australia’s position, the Rudd Government seems determined to stop whaling once and for all. The Australian Prime Minister has given Japan a clear choice; stop killing whales in the Southern Ocean or face the legal consequences..”

      So what is Australia’s position? Stop whaling or stop whaling in the Southern Ocean?

      Southern Ocean. So if whaling nations stick to their territorial waters or even simply stay away from Antarctica, then there will be no issue with commercial whaling.

      • Neil 3.1.1

        I spotted that too.

        Labour’s position is “we oppose the SWG plan to stop whaling in the southern oceans but still have commercial whaling elsewhere but we support the Australian plan to stop whaling in the southern oceans but still have commercial whaling elsewhere”.

        • mickysavage 3.1.1.1

          The Aussies have a legal judgment saying that whaling in the Southern Ocean is illegal and they have an interest because of their claim to part of Antartica and the surrounding sea. The story is at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7188674.stm.

          This is why there is a distinction between the Southern Ocean and the rest of the world.

          I though that on behalf of the Labour Party Chris Carter’s statement (thanks IS) is pretty clear. Throughout his tenure as Environment Minister he was a staunch and vociferous opponent of the Japanese actions.

          Goff is on a bus trying to educate the country of the massive wealth distribution the nats are planning for May.

          • Bright Red 3.1.1.1.1

            yeah, but he walk and chew gum, eh?

            Hopefully media will ask him about it today.

          • Neil 3.1.1.1.2

            the judgement is that whaling is illegal in Australian waters. Australia is seeking to stop whaling around Antarctica – their legal bid is not about seeking to stop all whaling.

            which is no different from what the SWG is proposing apart from the fact that if SWG plan is accepted whaling would be under the complete control of the IWC with monitoring and enforcement.

            The Australian plan is great but it does not address all of the issues, it is not a plan to end all whaling.

            • mickysavage 3.1.1.1.2.1

              Agreed but I do not see that Australia is saying it will not take any actoin about stopping whaling outside of Antarctic waters, rather it is saying that it has rights in the Antarctic waters that can be enforced and it will take action to do so.

        • Pascal's bookie 3.1.1.2

          …the Australian plan to stop whaling in the southern oceans but still have commercial whaling elsewhere’

          Got a linky for Australia supporting commercial whaling elsewhere?

    • Daveo 3.2

      Still no sign of the leadership though. Where’s Goff?

  4. Bill 4

    The whaling issue is a done deal…hunt in your territorial waters and leave the Antarctic alone.

    Labour and the Greens knew about this way before Saturday. Hell, I knew about a couple of weeks age through listening to RNZ.

    From now on in it’s window dressing…there will be much of the wringing of the hands by Labour and the throwing of the hands in the air by the Greens and the impeaching of us to understand that it is the best of all possible outcomes; that nobody sticks to principles when there is the option of pragmatism before market demands….and we really must understand and accept that this is the way of the world and not get carried away with ourselves and our quaint otherworldly principles.

    • Cnr Joe 4.1

      I’m not getting at you Bill – how do we get these pesky animals to stay within these territorial waters and stop their ceaseless wandering all over the show.
      Whens the fight start?

      • Bill 4.1.1

        Could always chop the starboard pectoral fins….create a market for fin soup to fund the procurement process….and the blighters will happily swim in safe little circles. And then if the fin soup market really takes off, we can do the port pectoral fins too and they can go in straight lines around and around forever below the 65th parallel or whatever.

  5. L 5

    Perhaps the Greens have decided that there are plenty to speak for the whales already but noone to speak for the National Parks and high value conservation land and our rivers. The Greens are after all a party with only 9 MPs. I imagine someone somewhere might have made a decision to say, “okay well we could put out a press release about this whaling issue but hey everyone knows where we stand on that one. Instead we are going to put some more energy into X cause we think with a bit more of a push we can get a gain here.” Or perhaps they were just all out in the garden for the weekend.

    • Bright Red 5.1

      yeah, cause they’re just so busy, L.

      The Greens haven’t put out a press release since Thursday.

      And they’re constantly in the news. yeah, they can afford to let a huge issue like whaling slide.

    • xy 5.2

      Interesting, is this site encoding quotes twice? Test: ”

      [lprent: Not as far as I’m aware. Comments posted with RSS display with an escape character (“), and it has been on my buglist for a while. ]

      • Lanthanide 5.2.1

        Only when someone fails to fill in the captcha, then they are presented with an opportunity to copy their text, press back on their browser and paste it again (clumsy, but works).

        In the copied text, quotes are escaped. lprent said he was going to fix it, but hasn’t yet.

        [lprent: Yep. Guilty as charged. Now that the weather is turning and I don’t get baked on the weekends to the point that you have to find water – maybe something will happen. ]

  6. bobo 6

    Goff doesn’t seem to be filling the policy vacuum and forcing this issue into the spotlight maybe because they have no policy on this? Russell Norman where the bloody hell are yah?

    • Bright Red 6.1

      Labour should have policy on this. The same policy as when they were government, at least.

      • grumpy 6.1.1

        Which was????

      • bobo 6.1.2

        I agree, seems the Standard is more of an opposition than the Labour party at the moment, Goff started the opening of parliament well then… flatlined…. can see this week Key gloating “now oh unemployment is on the slide, exports are up” even though it is due mostly to dairy prices better than predicted.

  7. sad and useless and just when we need some galvanising leadership on the left… aw well luckily the bloggers haven’t rolled over.

  8. the sprout 8

    Labour and Green’s silence is shameful not only on principled grounds, but it’s a wasted political opportunity on a win-win issue for them too.
    But then wasted oppotunities seem to be the sine qua non of L and G in opposition.

  9. Hilary 9

    Just saw this press release from Chris Carter and it was mentioned on 1pm news too. Good they are taking a stand.
    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1003/S00102.htm

  10. SHG 10

    I’ve emailed my (National) electorate MP to find out his position on the issue. I’ll be interested to see his reply, if any.

    Gotta say… as a New Zealander, I’m pretty happy to have Australian citizenship.

    • SHG 10.1

      Bump for the reply:

      Dear Simon,

      Thanks for your email about commercial whaling and NZ’s position at the IWC.

      Parliament has been in recess for the last ten days or so, so the National Party caucus hasn’t had a chance to discuss the issue since recent media coverage rekindled public interest, although I imagine it may be on the agenda next week.

      While you have asked for my position, the issue is likely to continue to be determined by government policy rather than as a conscience issue, so as a government MP I supply the following as a statement of the government’s stance:

      · New Zealand is anti-whaling. That is why New Zealand is working hard at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) for a diplomatic solution.

      · New Zealand is participating in the negotiations at the IWC because we believe it offers the best prospect for bringing whaling under international control and substantially reducing the number of whales killed. During the previous 20 years, whaling quotas have increased ten fold, from 300 in 1990 to 3,000 for 2010. The current system is not working.

      · New Zealand has not endorsed any particular proposal. The mandate of the New Zealand delegation at the IWC participating in the negotiations is to see if they can find a diplomatic solution that the New Zealand Government and people of New Zealand can consider.

      · As the Prime Minister has said, if the diplomatic solution fails and talks break down, then New Zealand will have to consider if it wants to join Australia in any legal action that might be taken, and that decision will be made in due course. However, at this point New Zealand is still working through the meetings that are taking place at the IWC.

      Thank you again for contacting me.

  11. Goff was on Mikey Havoc’s show this morning on BFM and critised the Government for not backing the Australians. The audio is at http://www.95bfm.com/assets/sm/195078/3/Phil8thofMarch.mp3

  12. Bill 12

    So where is the Maori Party in all this? We haven’t heard a peep. Whale Riders, tourism operators off Kaikoura & elsewhere, and giving confidence and supply to Suits that consider whales just another commodity to be hunted, killed and traded? I know that politics is the pursuit of self-interest in the face of real or imagined opposition, but somebody please help me understand…

    • Bill 12.1

      You might want to alter your name for this site before confusion sets in.

      • Marty G 12.1.1

        🙂 you can be purple Bill and the other one is pink Bill.

        But yeah, Pink Bill, it could be confusing having exactly the same names, especially as it seems you’re both feisty lefties. And Purple Bill has been around a while 🙂

  13. Jenny 13

    Though both Labour and the Greens have both endorsed fatally flawed Carbon Trading, and other mainstream market mechanisms like offsetting, over mandated cuts. Thankfully, they are not even half as “stealthy” as the Main Stream Greens in America.

    http://www.thenation.com/doc/20100322/hari

    If this is not a victory for ‘real politic’ then I don’t know what is.

    • Marty G 14.1

      The post notes the weak little presser. Eddie had shown it to me in draft just before Carter’s presser came out, then altered it from ‘nothing’ to ‘next to nothing’.

      Should be Goff, Carter doesn’t mean anything.

  14. Salsy 15

    I agreee, Goff is the invisible man. Every day in the media there he is Mr Moronic Grin; bumbling and stumbling over his words while stealing New Zealanders rights by the arm load – but never an image nor a statement by Goff. Ive said it before and ill say it again, he aint the leader to topple Key. As for the Greens, well perhaps theyve cottoned on the to the fact that Key tells the public one thing and does the complete opposite – celebration anyone?

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